Southern Miss advances to C-USA semis

Published 11:30 am Friday, March 14, 2014

C-USA Tournament on TV


3 p.m. CBSSN – Tulsa vs. Middle Tennessee
5:30 p.m. CBSSN -Southern Miss vs. Louisiana Tech

Aaron Brown scored 16 of his 18 points in the second half and Michael Craig added 12 as Southern Miss advanced to the Conference USA tournament semifinals with a 64-56 victory over UTEP on Thursday night.

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Craig also grabbed 12 rebounds and the No. 4 seeded Golden Eagles (27-5) outrebounded UTEP 45-28, including 20-7 on the offensive boards.

“Most games we’ve played, we have a very aggressive get-out and pressure the ball, matchup zone defense,” Southern Miss coach Donnie Tyndall said. “(Against UTEP in the regular season), we were able to do that. At the end of the day, we charted every possession in the first game, and we wanted to pack it in and make them make jump shots over top of us.”

Southern Miss advanced to today’s semifinals against top-seeded Louisiana Tech, which beat Charlotte 86-65 on Thursday. The other semifinal will feature Tulsa vs. Middle Tennessee.

The four semifinalists are the top four seeds in the tournament. They all shared the regular-season championship.

Southern Miss led 28-24 at halftime after consecutive layups by Chip Armelin, and started the second half with a 9-0 run to open a double-digit lead for the first time.

UTEP chipped away and used an 8-0 run to get as close as four points, 58-54, on a pair of free throws by Julian Washburn with 2:53 to go. The Miners (23-10), though, couldn’t get any closer.

A dunk by Craig and a layup by Neil Watson restored Southern Miss’ lead to 62-54 with 38 seconds remaining.

“I’ve got some tough kids in our locker room who found a way to make a play or two when things weren’t going their way,” Tyndall said.

Washburn led UTEP with 16 points and Vince Hunter added 14. Daveon Boardingham had nine points and seven rebounds for Southern Miss.

 Alabama State 64, Alcorn State 51

Jamel Waters scored 16 points and third-seeded Alabama State used a late run to pull away from sixth-seeded Alcorn State in the Southwestern Athletic Conference tournament quarterfinals.

The victory sent the Hornets (19-11) into a semifinal game today against No. 2 seed Texas Southern. The other semifinal will feature No. 8 seed Prairie View against Alabama A&M.

Prairie View upset regular-season champion and top-seeded Southern 64-46 in the quarterfinals on Wednesday.

Leading 51-47 with 4:45 left, Alabama State went on a 10-0 run to go up 61-47 with 54 seconds remaining.

Luther Page had 12 points and 10 rebounds for the Hornets while DeMarcus Robinson and Tony Armstrong added 10 points each.

Marquis Vance scored 15 points and LeAntwan Luckett 12 for the Braves (12-19), who shot just 30.3 percent, including 1-of-13 from 3-point range.

The Hornets only made 1 of 9 from long range, but were nearly 16 percent better overall from the floor than the Braves.

The Hornets swept three games from Alcorn State this season.